EHR burnout greater than anticipated more than a decade ago

Participants say that between 11 percent and 60 percent of their burnout is tied to their EHR.

Electronic health record (EHR) systems are continuing to cause physician burnout, but the sources are different than what was anticipated more than a decade ago.

A report from the American Medical Informatics Association (AIMA) details a survey they performed at their 2020 annual meeting to assess whether the organization’s 2009 predictions on the burnout impact of the HITECH Act being enacted. They found that the association most underestimated the decrease in data quality due to copy/paste behaviors, while they most overestimated the impact that false positives from abuse and fraud detection algorithms would harm physicians and/or patients.

All of the participants said that the problems today are greater than anticipated in 2009.

The participants rated the connection between EHRs and burnout as being a mixture of direct and indirect effects and that the current burnout crisis was moderately anticipated. Most of the respondents say that EHRs contribute between 11 percent and 60 percent to physician burnout, the report says.

Furthermore, the participants found that only three recommendations the association made in 2009 were half or more completed, while the majority of recommendations were found to have no significant action taken or some small amount of work over the past 11 years, according to the report.

The three recommendations which progress was made on include two policy recommendations, that are: reconcile multiple electronic medical record certifications to eliminate conflicts, avoid a rush to Food and Drug Administration regulation of health information technology as a medical device. The third was an internal recommendation for AMIA to make their responses to government about legislation and rules helpful, educational, and oriented toward the public good rather than just lobbying for constituents, according to the report.